Wayne T. Price / Florida Today – It’s 2015 and the 2014 holiday shopping season is a memory, unless you’re a retailer hoping to haul some of that consumer spending mojo into the new year.
Many stores are still promoting sales and hoping to lure in shoppers by offering discounts and specials as they try to shed inventory and get customers to spend their Christmas cash and to redeem gift cards.
Retail experts say you can expect these sales for the next several weeks, at the least.
“The day after Christmas was busier than any day before Christmas,” said Jeff Green, a a Phoenix, Arizona-based retail consultant. “I think that tells you that people are only shopping bargains.”
Holidays sales this year are projected to come in at anywhere from 1-3 percent this year. That would signify a modestly successful year.
But Green and others note that more and more consumers have come to expect sales and bargains and they’re being much more thrifty than they have been in years past, possibly a ripple effect from the previous recession that tainted so many to the downside of reckless borrowing and spending.
“Retailers have been training us to shop price,” Green said. “I’m a great example of it. I go directly to the sales racks — immediately. I typically don’t buy something, if it’s not on sale. And it’s not an affordability issue. It’s just that I’ve been trained by the retailers that way.”
Whatever the rationale behind the post-Christmas bargains, the timing really couldn’t be better.
Earlier this week, a said consumer confidence bounced back in December, mainly because of plunging gasoline prices, rising stocks and healthy job growth.
A closely watched index of consumers’ outlook rose to 92.6 from 91 in November, the Conference Board said, as their positive views of current conditions more than offset a warier short-term outlook.
Economists expected a reading of 93.5. The measure unexpectedly fell last month after reaching a seven-year high in October.
“Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favorable assessment of current economic and labor market conditions,” Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators, said in statement.
Americans’ perceptions of “the present situation” jumped from 93.7 to 98.6, the highest level since February 2008. Their views of the labor market improved, with the share saying jobs are “plentiful” increasing to 17.1 percent from 16.2 percent and the portion saying jobs are “hard to get” falling to 27.7 percent from 28.7 percent.
Americans’ improved outlook was expected to boost holiday sales this month.
Then there is the strategy by Suzan Kundrat owner of Blue Tree 2 Toys in Historic Downtown Melbourne. Kundrat said she wasn’t planning any post holiday sales, mainly because she never had any sales to begin with.
“I don’t do sales because I give a good value all year long,” she said.
As far as continuing the holiday momentum Kundrat said: “There are always babies being born and there are always birthday parties.”